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Worcester City were formed when Worcester Rovers and Berwick Rangers (not the Scottish team, obviously) merged mid-season in 1902. They took over Berwick's playing record and fixtures in the Birmingham and District League. They were Birmingham League champions on four occasions, in 1913-14, 1924-25, 1928-29 and 1929-30, before transferring to the Southern League in 1938. Both their record victory, 18-1 over Bilston, and their record defeat, 0-10 against Wellington, occurred in this period. Worcester City Reserves added a fifth Birmingham League title in 1948-49.
They were relegated from the Southern League Premier Division to Division 1 in 1966-67, but bounced straight back as Division 1 champions the following season. A second relegation followed in 1973-74, however again they recovered their status quickly, being Division 1 North champions in 1976-77. This was followed just two year later by the Premier Division championship, a performance that earned them a place in the newly formed Alliance Premier League (later the Conference). They were relegated back to the Southern League in 1984-85, remaining in the Premier Division until 2004, when they joined the newly formed Conference North.
Worcester applied for election to the Football League on 16 occasions between 1947 and 1969. The nearest they came was in 1950, when there were two places available in Division Three South due to the expansion of the League. Worcester polled 11 votes to come in third behind Gillingham (44 votes) and Colchester (28 votes). Instead, other neighbouring teams have gained the League status that seemed to be Worcester's for the taking, had they been able to fulfil their potential. Hereford were elected on the back of their Cup exploits in 1972, Cheltenham were promoted in 1999, and Kidderminster became Worcestershire's first ever League club in 2000.
At present the club is attempting to gain planning permission for a new ground to replace the dilapidated St George's Lane. Such a move is necessary if they are to progress to the Conference, let alone the Football League.
Worcester's most famous footballing moment came in the 1958-59 FA Cup. After seeing off Chelmsford City in a first round replay, they thumped Fourth Division Millwall 5-2 in the second round to set up a tie with Second Division Liverpool. The game was played on a Thursday afternoon on a frozen St George's Lane pitch. An early goal from Tommy Skuse following a poor back pass and an own goal gave Worcester a 2-0 lead. Liverpool pulled one back from a late penalty, but Worcester held on for a famous victory. Team: Kirkwood, Wilcox, Potts, Bryceland, Melville, Paul, Brown, Follan, Knowles, Gosling, Skuse. Things didn't work out too bad for Liverpool however - they sacked their manager and appointed one Bill Shankly in his place. In the fourth round Worcester again faced Second Division opposition in Sheffield United in front of a record 17,042 crowd at the Lane. However there was to be no repeat of the result as the Blades ran out 2-0 winners.
Worcester's record in the FA Cup proper is as follows:
1905-06 R1 WatfordS H L 0-6 1925-26 R1 Kettering TownN H D 0-0 R1(R) Kettering TownN A D 0-0 R1(2R) Kettering TownN * L 0-2 1928-29 R1 Walsall3 A L 1-3 1950-51 R1 Hartlepool Utd4 H L 1-4 1957-58 R1 Aldershot3 A D 0-0 R1(R) Aldershot3 H D 2-2 R1(2R) Aldershot3 * L 2-3 1958-59 R1 Chelmsford CityS A D 0-0 R1(R) Chelmsford CityS H W 3-1 R2 Millwall4 H W 5-2 R3 Liverpool2 H W 2-1 R4 Sheffield Utd2 H L 0-2 1960-61 R1 Coventry City3 H L 1-4 1978-79 R1 Plymouth Arg3 H W 2-0 R2 Newport County4 A D 0-0 R2(R) Newport County4 H L 1-2 1982-83 R1 Macclesfield TN A W 5-1 R2 Wrexham3 H W 2-1 R3 Coventry City1 A L 1-3 1983-84 R1 Aldershot4 A D 1-1 R1(R) Aldershot4 H W 2-1 R2 Maidstone UtdA A L 2-3 1987-88 R1 Yeovil TownN H D 1-1 R1(R) Yeovil TownN A L 0-1 1998-99 R1 Torquay Utd3 H L 0-1 2001-02 R1 Rushden & Diam3 H L 0-1 2005-06 R1 Chippenham TownN A D 1-1 R1(R) Chippenham TownN H W 1-0 R2 Huddersfield T1 H L 0-1 2014-15 R1 Coventry City1 A W 2-1 R2 Scunthorpe Utd1 A D 1-1 R2(R) Scunthorpe Utd1 H D 1-1 (aet, pens 13-14) 2015-16 R1 Sheffield Utd1 A L 0-3 * at St Andrews, Birmingham
In other cup competitions, Worcester reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup in 1978-79, beating Cardiff in the process, before losing 2-0 to Shrewsbury. They were Southern League Cup winners in 1939-40 and 2000-01. They have also won the Worcestershire Senior Cup on more than twenty occasions, the Birmingham Senior Cup in 1975-76, and the Staffordshire Senior Cup in 1976-77.
A number of players have appeared for both Worcester and Reading. John Kirkwood, the keeper in Worcester's famous win over Liverpool played 32 games for Reading between 1952 and 1954. In more recent years, Martin Hicks, Ollie Kearns and Phil Stant have spent time at St George's Lane towards the end of their careers.